Russia and the United Kingdom reported their first cases of the deadly coronavirus on Friday, which has already claimed over 200 lives in China.
The airborne sickness has spread from China to 20 other countries since it was first reported in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus. Globally, nearly 10,000 people have caught the coronavirus. The two nations have both launched efforts to contain the virus, enacting quarantines on the ill patients, according to USA Today.
Two Chinese tourists fell ill in the Staycity Hotel in York, England, while on vacation. They were transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment by specialists and remain in quarantine. The Chief Medical Adviser to the UK government, Chris Whitty, made the following statement via the Department of Health and Social Care:
We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.
“The Department of Health at least needs to tell people how big the potential spread of this virus is, and how much contact with the wider community these two have had. Why didn’t the Department of Health say something sooner?” Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told The Daily Mail Thursday. (RELATED: CDC Announces First Person-To-Person Spread Of Coronavirus In US)
“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread,” Whitty said, per USA Today.
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) January 31, 2020
One case was discovered in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia, while the other was in Russia’s Far East, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova. While the two are in stable condition, they are being held in quarantine. (RELATED: Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 200 As Outbreak Impacts Travelers Worldwide)
All Russian airlines, except the national airline Aeroflot, will halt travel to China. Four Chinese airlines will still be allowed to fly to Russia, Golikova said.
At the same press briefing, Golikova stated that everyone who had come into contact with the two patients had already been medically examined.
The coronavirus outbreak is considered to be a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.